Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Female Entrepreneurs Connecting the Dots

After CU-WISE talk of "How to use Social Media to Benefit your Career", our speaker, Natasha D'Souza from Virtual Eye See generously sponsored some of the CU-WISE attendees for the Women's Networking Event Connect the Dots.

I was very happy to know I was one of the 4 students attending this event. However, I was a little surprised when I searched for the schedule and I saw that the first event was a PJ party :-) and I didn't know if it was literally a PJ party until I saw this video with Mary Cavanagh and Laura Brooker promoting the event. Mary was actually wearing her PJs on TV!

So, I prepared my PJs and arrived to the event. I have to say that in the last couple of year's as an executive of CU-WISE and WISE Ottawa I have been fortunate to participate in many networking events, but this one was out of the ordinary! Not only because we could be pampered with massages and facials, but also because you feel like being with girlfriends and honestly, once you're wearing your PJs, all communications barriers are down. I felt so comfortable talking to other people, not as frightening as business networking event seem to appear for WISE women. So, if you're organizing a networking event for women, I would suggest to follow this example.

You can see more pictures about this event at the event's Facebook page.

Next day was full of talks and more fun events. Although this event was focused for Female Entrepreneurs, most of the advice and suggestions given by speakers and panelists can be applied to all women pursuing a career.

One of the first speakers, Lisa Lajoie talked about listening to our intuition, what feels right, and what really raises a flag. As a scientist and engineer, sometimes I forget about it, so this was a nice reminder. She also mentioned how we can be our own enemies and we can be our worst enemies. This sounds very familiar to the impostor syndrome and that feeling of boicoting ourselves that we've discussed in previous posts. Some of the speakers also reminded us to be authentic, know what makes you unique and share your gifts with others.

Lorraine Mastersmith from Women Entrepreneurs of Canada announced the Ask Campaing which aims to ask women where they want them to be, we want to help provide women the tools to make the “Ask”. If you would like to contribute to this campaing, you can answer this poll. She suggested some tips to ask:
  • Do your homework and find the people whom you should ask.
  • Make the Ask in a say to secure the Answer you're looking for (make sure you propose a win-win deal). Don't ask, offer!
  • Go with a Big Ask.
We also had a social media showcase, where experts in social media (Facebook, Twitter, Forums, Newsletters) including Natasha D'Souza made a short introduction and went afterwards to separate tables to show how your company (or your career) can benefit from social media. Every now and then, Maryse Senecal from Myo-precision would remember us how we can take breaks of 5-10 minutest to strech and release tension in our upper body. Some simple movements can go a long way when you're 8-10 hours in front of the computer. I have now programmed a reminder to do some excercises every 2 hours and I can feel the difference.

The panel of Ottawa’s Million Dollar Women in Business included Heather MacLachlan (Business Women of the Year 2007), Lisa Larter from Group which encompasses Parlez Wireless, an Authorized TELUS Dealership, and Lisa Larter Consulting. They shared that ont their own experience, is not about the numbers, or the million dollar in revenue, but doing things you're passionate about, giving back to the community and satisfying your standars, and not only your client's standards.

I would like to finish with some of the principles shared by Mary Cavanagh, Leslie Eisener and Cara Rose-Brown from Ignite Potentials:
  • Balance: there's never a right or wrong, seek the balance in all things.
  • Evolution: evolution happens between order and chaos, find the gift in the chaos.
  • Interconnectedness.
  • Focus.
  • Purpose.
  • Gratitude.
For more blog posts about this event, you can check out the official Connect the Dots blog.

It was nurturing and empowering to meet all these women that shared her experience and advice with us. If you are thinking about being an Entrepreneur, I would encourage you to attend Connect the Dots 2010, which will take place in the Hotel Crowne Plaza in Ottawa and check out some of the Women's Newtorking Groups participating.


Gail Carmichael said...

Great post Natalia! You really gave me a sense of what the event was like, even though I couldn't go myself. Thanks for taking the time. :)